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There's lots of reasons travelers opt for a vacation rental home. Location, price and being able to house multiple generations under one roof are high on the list.
But a big reason visitors choose a rental property is they want a genuine taste of local life in a laid back beach town, a rugged mountain getaway or a charming wine country resort, especially if they plan to settle in for a week.
Everyday activities like grocery shopping, cornering a favorite table at the town cafe and a sunset beach run with the family golden retriever become the small, unexpected pleasures that transform a routine vacation into a life-enhancing experience. And yes, guests will happily share such moments with family, friends and Instagram.
As a vacation rental manager, you know a well-appointed house is just a part of the guest experience. Check out these five ways you can help your renters get a generous taste of local life they'll never forget.
You're the expert, and your renters know it. They'll value your knowledge of where to eat and what to see and do. Offer information about the area on your website that you've selected yourself so potential visitors know what the area offers. Before your guests arrive, send them an online guide brimming with ideas, information and tips so they can plan their visit.
Amplify your suggestions with enticing details locals know about, like the bakery's scrumptious berry popovers sold only on weekends or the cafe where you might see the mayor sipping morning coffee. Insert a little history when applicable, like the legend behind the historic clock tower.
Go beyond the guidebooks and share what the area offers from your point of view. Clue in guests to your favorite hiking trail, the quiet beach that's easy to miss and the coffee shop's killer cappuccino.
Families with young children and a reunion of recent college roommates want very different experiences. Have a cache of ideas aimed at the various types of guests you host, keeping in mind what similar locals like. Don't skimp on suggestions. A meaty menu of activities and eating places will entice your guests. If they can't cram everything into one trip, they'll want to come back.
Your staff is an excellent resource for restaurants, cafes, bars and things to see and do. Employees who are long-time locals are an obvious source, but newcomers drawn to the area for its superb hiking, skiing or surfing possess deep knowledge, too. Credit what your employees suggest in your write-up: "Nikki, our office manager, grew up eating the burgers at Bob's and highly recommends their secret sauce."
Go beyond restaurants and attractions the area is known for. Include shops, art galleries, breweries, wineries, crafts fairs, music festivals and local theaters. Use your knowledge of the place to create unexpected tours visitors can take on foot or by car. Is craft beer booming in your area? Put together an online guide to local breweries like Brian Olson of Beachcomber Vacation Homes in Cannon Beach, Oregon did. Will the award-winning chef at the town's best restaurant come to a rental house and cook for a small dinner party? Tell your guests.
Sit down with your staff and come up with a list of fun things to do each day for a week. Pair activities with nearby restaurants and cafes so visitors have everything at their fingertips. Include suggestions for rainy day activities like a children's story time at the town library, a visit to the local museum and a list of movie theaters in the area. Guests can follow your guide to the hour, use it for a day or mine it for ideas. And you'll enjoy putting it together.